Some parents believe it makes sense to let their teenagers drink at home. They’ll have adult supervision and won’t be driving. 

But studies show that parents who provide their kids with alcohol aren’t doing them any favors. 

Teens whose early exposure to alcohol comes from home aren’t protected against the dangers of alcohol and may even be more likely to drink and suffer alcohol-related harm, according to the study in Lancet Public Health, which followed 1,900 Australian adolescents for six years. The Lancet information was published in USA TODAY. 

“Those (parents’) aims are admirable, but they’re wrong,” said Richard Mattick, who led the research. “When you look across a large number of people what you find is there’s no benefit.” 

Providing alcohol to adolescents, he said, implies that parents approve of drinking. “I don’t think it’s complex. I think it’s that simple.” 

The new study looked both at parents who gave their children occasional sips of alcohol and those who provided full glasses of beer or wine — and found little difference. 

“Giving whole glasses is probably worse than giving sips, but giving sips does not protect and still causes harm,” said Mattick, a professor of drug and alcohol studies at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. 

Although the new study is bigger and longer-lasting than most previous research, other advocates and scientists have long opposed the idea of adults providing alcohol or hosting drinking parties for teens. 

“The bottom line is providing alcohol for young people basically backfires,” said George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a federal agency. Throwing a party inevitably means teens who are already heavy drinkers will turn up, he said, “and they train the other kids to be binge drinkers.” 

Thirty-one states have so-called “social host laws,” where party hosts are held responsible for car accidents and other disasters resulting from alcohol use in their home. Ten states and many local ordinances single out underage parties. 

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) takes an even harder line against drinking, arguing that no drinking under age 21 is acceptable. MADD says parents should tell their teens that underage drinking is illegal, bad for their developing brain and can lead to terrible consequences, including accidents, getting kicked off sports teams or missing out on the college of their choice. 

We’re getting into the season for school proms, graduation parties and other social practices that come at the tail end of the school year. The studies and the experts can offer all the right reasons why parents shouldn’t be hosting social parties where alcohol is served to young people, but it’s really up to parents to assume the responsibility and enforce the rule. The consequences are too great.